Dushanbe: Defending champions Taiwan Power Company (TPC) defeated KRL FC 3-1 on Wednesday in the AFC President’s Cup 2012 to finish their Group B campaign with a much-need win.
Two second half goals from super-sub He Ming-chan (55, 58 minutes) and Hung Kai-chun’s stoppage time effort saw Chen Kue-jin’s men collect four points from two matches. KRL’s only goal was scored by Adil two minutes before the final whistle.
After a goalless deadlock in the first half that saw Pakistani champions KRL surprisingly dominate their more fancied rivals, TPC coach Chen shuffled his players, sending in the experienced He for Feng Pao-hsing in the 40th minute and the move paid dividends when 10 minutes into the second half the hitman put the Chinese Taipei outfit into the lead.
The second goal came three minutes later after He headed the ball past KRL goalkeeper Saqib Hanif, connecting with a precise cross by Wu Chun-ching.
KRL managed to pull a goal back two minutes before the final whistle through Adil but it proved to be too little and too late in a match that saw them fritter plenty of chances, including one in the final minute. There was still time for TPC to get in another goal when Hung tapped in a good cross.
“It was a tactical substitution (He coming in for Feng) because He is very experienced in this tournament and we wanted to use young players in the beginning and replace them with the experienced ones,” said a delighted Chen.
“I am very satisfied with the result. We wanted three points from this match and we have got it now. What happens next is out of our control as we can’t predict the result of the Al Amma’ri and KRL match.”
KRL coach Tariq Lutfi expressed his dissatisfaction and blamed the defeat on his players’ inexperience.
“I can’t say I am happy. The inexperience showed,” said Lutfi. “We are a new team and we missed a lot of chances. At this level you pay a price for missing chances.”
KRL had several opportunities to take the lead but were marred by poor finishing by an otherwise impressive Kaleemullah, who did everything right except finding the net.
After two early attacks by TPC, KRL took control of the match and their first real opportunity came in the 11th minute when Kaleemullah’s drive was blocked by the TPC custodian Lu Kun-chi. Seven minutes later Lutfi’s men were denied again by Lu after a freekick was tipped over.
In the 25th minute, TPC’s Wu sent screaming a 20-metre scorcher that narrowly missed the left post but nine minutes later a defensive goof-up saw KRL’s Adil miss narrowly from the edge of the post.
Kaleemullah hoodwinked two defenders and danced his way into the box but could only manage a weak shot in the 42nd minute and, three minutes later, yet another easy opportunity went abegging when the tall striker connected with a cross but could only groan in agony when the ball missed the net by inches.
A minute into the second half, Kaleemullah picked up from where he left off, executing a tantalising run into the box only to see his fierce left-footed drive on the run slamming into the left post.
And, two minutes later, Kaleemullah was at it again, latching on to a long ball, forcing TPC goalie Lu to lunge full length for a good save.
“Kaleemullah is a much better player than he was today,” lamented Lutfi. “Had his shot against the bar gone it it could have been the turning point of this match.”
KRL’s only goal of the match came through Adil who saw a slim opening from outside the area and sent in a rocket that eluded the diving TPC goalkeeper.
KRL next play Palestinians Al Amma’ri Youth Club on 28 September.